Trumbull – Dear Network Stations (3) – Quotes From Internationalist Dan – September 16, 1945

Daniel & Paulette's wedding - 1945

Daniel Beck and Paulette (Van Laere) Guion on July 17th, 1945

And Internationalist Dan writes way back on August 25th, by regular, not airmail, “Mail service is immensely improved— 5 to 6 days by airmail. Thus I am answering your August 19th letter today; and a rather amusing situation it is too, reading your account of how the war ended in Trumbull, because over here it is not yet official although we are convinced that the formality alone is lacking. But the spontaneity of celebration seems to have suffered an even greater blow than that of VE day because of rumors and preliminary reports. No tolling of bells, no blowing of horns, no demonstration of any kind has marked the end of the war, in Drancy, although I understand that the Yanks in downtown Paris cut up a bit on 16th of Aug. I am excited at the prospect of Lad’s getting home so unexpectedly. If only it is true! And if only I had known! Speaking of getting home, I hope you can send me those articles for Paulette as soon as possible because I might be leaving soon. She will not be able to leave for a matter of months because she must wait for an immigration visa from Philadelphia. Also if pregnant (which seems definite) she might be prohibited from sailing on any Army transport until the child is three months old. There is always the alternative of civilian transportation but waiting lists are long and space is limited. It seems that we must just make the best of it. While I remain in

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France it is feasible to send parcels but whether or not it will be possible after I leave I cannot say. So please don’t wait for the fall and winter catalog. Enclosed are two belated letters, one to Marian and the other to Jean that Chiche wrote last May. They were mailed to me while I was in Maastricht but were returned to Calais undelivered. We are both excited about the “expectations”. Chiche asks if it is possible to buy wool in America. She wants six lobs of wool, two each of pink, light blue and white. Our Army program is undergoing the throes of reorganization. We are hoping to get a good educational program started and perhaps I can take the Paris University course. It looks now as if I might get home in November or December. If you get a chance, please write a letter of thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Rabet, 5 rue Cuvier, Drancy, Seine, France. They have given us (Chiche and I) every form of hospitality imaginable and will not accept any money for it. I manage to find small presents for them such as cigarettes and soap but I feel very much in debt to them. Most of their food is bought on the black market because the legal ration is too slim. They particularly miss meat. If you can find any kind of canned meat or fish, please send it.

(Cease quotes. Red (Don Sirene) dropped in a while ago to see Lad, who is at present touring New England with his wife, and was accompanied by his fiancée, Geraldine Fisher. He asked me if I had seen the Bpt. Herald (Bridgeport Herald newspaper) headline which read: “Corp. Sirene wins Syracuse belle”. He said Jack Filman and Bill Palmer were fresh out of the service and that Barbara Plumb (Dan’s former girlfriend, who enlisted as a WAC) was expected home in November.)

Tomorrow and Friday, I’ll post the final segments of this letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Chillens (4) – Questions From Grandpa – September 9, 1945

In this section of the letter, Grandpa askes Dan many questions about Paulette’s family and confirming again to Paulette that he and Marian are very happy to shop for whatever she wants and needs.

Now Dan, as for that camera part. Lad seems to know exactly what you want and he spent the better part of an afternoon this past week going all over Bridgeport’s camera stores to try to locate the missing ring. I do not recall your sending it with the other parts, and Lad has looked for it in the trunk where I put your parts that you sent home, but he is having Zeke hand make something that Lad things will do the trick and we shall try to get it off this week with some of the things for Paulette which Marion went shopping for in Bridgeport last week, before we received your later lists. I am very much afraid the coat will exceed the weight limit. As for the Schick razor, Lad says he has one he will give you. In looking for the adapter ring in your trunk, he came across a Rolls razor and was sorry he had not asked you to buy him one when you were in London. I told him I didn’t think you would mind if, as long as you were sending you his Schick, he took your Rolls. If you have to fight it out I’ll be the referee. As for the wristwatch, that’s too indefinite for so important an item. Refer again to the Sears catalog, and based on the three models illustrated on page 473, give me some idea of style, size, shape and approximate cost so we will have some idea to shoot at. As a hasty and much belated answer to your question asked long ago, you say tea, coffee, cocoa and soap are always welcome. I assume you referred to the Senechal’s, as I did. You may recall I asked if they wanted coffee in beam (if they have their own grinder) or if desired ground, how fine and for what type of coffee maker? Do they like Black, Green or Oolong tea? As to soap, laundry or toilet? I quite agree with you in regard to Paulette’s wardrobe. Tell her— no, send her in here and I’ll talk to her myself. See here, girl, don’t ever get the idea it is imposing on us to have Dan give us a list of the things you want. It is a real pleasure to do little things for others, particularly when one has the satisfaction of knowing they are really things the other fellow wants and needs. It shows a fine feeling on your part not wanting to put other people to trouble on your account, but Marian, upon whom falls most of the brunt of choosing with her women’s taste, the clothes for you, enjoys shopping, and particularly for you, and the funds are Dan’s, which he has thriftily, in months past, sent on to me to keep for him. So, everything considered, it would be quite a disappointment if we couldn’t do these little things to show just how much we think of “our little French girl”.

Tomorrow, the final section of this letter with comments from Grandpa and news from Dave.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Chillens (3) – A Letter From Paulette (Chiche) – September 9, 1945

The following is Dan’s translation of the letter Paulette has written to “My dear Dad”.

DBG - Dan andPaulette (Paulette - cropped) - 1945

Paulette (Van Laere) Guion (Mrs. Dan)

My dear Dad: I am very happy to be able to at last call you Dad. I was delighted to receive your very nice letter. It is necessary that I tell you first of all how happy I am to be Dan’s wife. He is so kind and so good, he is loved by everyone. We had a lovely wedding made doubly so by having Lad with us. In this way Dan was not married without any of his family present. All went well. The weather was superb and we took many photos. I thought of you a great deal on that day. I already love you and the rest, and I am certain that when I arrived to be with you I will find the love there of the parents I have here. Dan was able to remain three weeks at Calais, during which time we were very happy. Unfortunately, it could not last and he had to return to Drancy. As I am not working, I rejoined him however, later at Drancy. Although he has many privileges, still he is in the Army and cannot always do what he wishes. Even so, I am happy to be near him. When one is in love everything is lovely, is it not so? Well, dear Dad, the war is over and I am very happy for you. You are going again to have all your children with you, plus a little French girl, and who knows, perhaps also a grandson or a granddaughter, because you see, Dad, we do not wish to wait to have children, because Dan and I love them so much. I do not know yet how soon I can leave for America, but at any rate, if Dan leaves before me, I believe I can make the trip later with my cousin, who is also married to an American. That will be a very difficult day for my parents but the transport goes so fast that perhaps I will be able to return to France. I know I shall be very happy at the Château Guion, which must be pretty and gay. I know it will be a total change for me but I believe I will easily accustom myself to it. Dan is one who likes sports and I love very much all the sports he plays. Anyhow, I will try to do everything for the best and be a worthy representative of France. Dan is very kind to me and I am very, very happy

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with him. I would go to the end of the earth for him and I ask only one thing and that is to make him as happy as I am. I hope this short letter will give you pleasure and I ask you to kiss Aunt Betty for me, as well as Marian, whom I am going to love also. As for you, dear Dad, a very fond fatherly kiss. Your new daughter, Paulette”

Now, isn’t that just as delightful a letter as anyone would want to receive, and you wonder that all of us, and especially “the old man”, can hardly wait for the days to pass to have what Dan terms “our French relatives” with us. I am afraid to depend too much upon it. Wouldn’t it be grand if that 4 months’ waiting period could bring them here in time for the Christmas holidays?

Tomorrow I will post the next section of this very long letter full of questions for Dan that Grandpa would like answered. On Friday, the final section of this letter with news from Dave. 

Judy Guion 

Trumbull – Dear Chillens (2) – Interesting Enclosures From Dan – September 9, 1945

And again a letter written on the 18th, says: “The war is still in the process of ending with both MacArthur and Hirohito trying to “upstage” each other. Latest rumor promises that the critical score will be lowered to 75. But Missouri is my native state until I clutch those H.D. papers in my incredulous fist.

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A card dated August 16th, contains a request for some clothes for Chiche. Dan says: “She has been getting by on very little during the last three or four years, and I have finally convinced her that she must let me know what she needs. Please use my money and your judgment. Chiche crops up from time to time with the impression that I am asking for too much in the way of clothing, etc., for her. I promised to elaborate my position by telling you again that I am merely economizing. By buying clothes in the USA, I am saving from 5 to 10 times the money I would spend in France – – and the quality is superior in much the same ration. Shoes, for example. Even rationed shoes are made of rationed materials and quickly come apart. Unrationed shoes are made of wood, canvas and cardboard. I realize that shoes are still rationed at home but at least the unrationed styles are more comfortable than their French counterparts. The red slippers you sent are undergoing such constant use that all her other shoes are jealous (judging from the discomfort they cause her when she wears them). I might be dropping over to America one of these months soon, resplendent in decorations. It looks as if I shall be getting out of the Army soon— perhaps I shall be home for Christmas. It might take longer for Chiche to get her visa.

And with Dan’s letters there are some interesting enclosures, one a copy of the French marriage license and a copy of the address (in French) made at the time of their civil marriage in the City Hall. My charming new daughter also writes me such a nice letter (in French, translation by Dan) that I am quoting it so that you can see what a prize Dan won from across the Big Pond.

Tomorrow I will post the letter from Paulette to Grandpa. Thursday and Friday, the rest of this letter, including news from Dave.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Chillens (1) – All’s Right With The World – September 9, 1945

This week I will be posting letters written in the fall of 1945. Lad has come home from France, Dan has married a French girl in Calais, France, Ced is still in Anchorage, Alaska, Jean has travelled to Santaliza, Brazil, to be with her husband, Dick and Dave is in Manila, Philippines).

Trumbull, Conn., Sept. 9, 1945.

Dear Chillens:

Following its prescribed course, my faithful hay fever reaches its climax right about now and, while I don’t think it has been quite so violent as in some years past, it still causes that feeling of low energy, peevishness and impatience, so that the effort to write this letter even, assumes unpleasant proportions.

Elizabeth, Zeke and the children came over to dinner today as sort of a pre-birthday celebration, and beside the birthday cake, made with Marian’s fair hands, I was also presented with a much needed white shirt and an equally desired union suits, with also the usual steel engravings of George Washington (Aunt Betty always gives a dollar bill in her birthday cards) accompanied by appropriate card from Aunt Betty. During the week I received a box of Brazilian cigars from guess who, and this, with the box of cigars Lad brought me, will keep me in smokes for a while.

Five or six separate communications from the Dan B. Guion’s during the week sort of makes up for lost time and Dave also makes our Quotes Dept. take on new life.

First a letter dated Aug. 2nd, from Ghent, Belgium, reads: At last a short note from your French relatives. I suppose Lad has already informed you of the Big Day. I did not write sooner because there is no APO in Calais and I saw no official Americans for over three weeks. But the honeymoon is over and I am on my way back to Paris via Ghent. (There is more superseded by later letters)

Aug. 13th. I arrived here in Drancy on Aug. 3rd. Chiche tentatively had decided to come on Aug. 4th, but when I visited her relatives here in Drancy, I found she had wired she would come on the 6th. But alas, they had no room for her because several other members of the family had come there for the marriage of Paulette’s cousin. Friends in Drancy, however, with prodigal generosity, offered me all the facilities of their house for as long as we wished. So we wired Paulette to come. Paulette arrived in Paris about 3:30 and wired for me to meet her. The message went astray through a misunderstanding here at the barracks, and after waiting four hours in Paris, decided to come to Drancy. We finally got together shortly after 8 P.M. Chiche was rather upset to learn she could not stay with her relatives, and to make matters worse, the acting Co. Commander (the same officer who had sent me back to Drancy from Calais last April against my wishes) told me that I could not stay overnight with my wife more than one night per week. “Regulations,” he said. I thought he might offer to try to make a dispensation but he said no more. I thanked him and left his office. Later that day I happened to meet Maj. Minor, who is a high official in the Battalion. I presented my problem to him and immediately he offered to help me, saying he was quite certain it could be arranged. So back I went to the acting C.O. to apologize for having “gone over his head”. Far from forgiving me, he was furious. His face became flushed, his fingers beat a tattoo on the table. “I don’t like it” he growled, “but if the Major says it’s all right, there’s nothing more I can do about it.” So now, no menacing clouds remain to obscure promising horizons. I stay each night with Chiche. A new commanding officer has taken charge. The war is collapsing. “All’s right with the world.”

Tomorrow, more news of Dan and Paulette (Chiche) from this letter.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 343 – Lad, Dan and Ced in Mount Vernon, NY About 1918

APG - Lad and Dan - Larchmont, NY - June, 1918

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) and Daniel Beck Guion  circa 1918 at Larchmont Gardens, Mount Vernon, NY

CDG - Ced in playpen in Larchmont, NY

Cedric Duryee Guion with Lad in the background, probably taken the same day at Larchmont Gardens, Mount Vernon, NY circa 1918.

Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in October of 1939. Dan has returned home from Venezuela but Lad remains there, working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company (which eventually became part of Mobil) as a trouble shooter at their various oil camps out in the field.

Judy Guion 

Special Picture (341) – Grandpa’s Children – 1914 – 1927

In this Post I am going to show group photos of the children as they were growing up.

 

Blog - Arla Mary Peabody and children - 1922 (sepia)

                           Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion with her first five children – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss, circa 1922

 

 

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This shows some of the children playing on the dirt road in front of the house. I believe Ced is to the left, Biss is in the middle and dick is on the right. This would have been 1925 because Biss was five years old when she broke her arm.

 

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lsd and Biss

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss circa 1927

There is another picture I have found on my computer but I can’t seem to get it in this post. I’m giving up.

Judy Guion

 

 

 

 

 

Army Life – Lad Sends A V-Mail To Dan – July 20, 1945

Lad sent this V-Mail to Dan five days after Dan and Paulette’s wedding in Calais, France.  Lad returned to his Base in southern France and discovered that the Battalion had left without him.  More on this story later.

Army Life - Lad Send A V-Mail to Dan - July 20, 1945

S. France – July 20, 1945

Dear Dan: –

While I was gone it happened and I’m part of the rear detachment, so you had better not plan to try to see me.  I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can do about it.  Better luck next time.  Will probably see you after this is all over.  Had no trouble getting back at all.

I think Paulette is swell, and I really had a lot of fun even if it was a little bit hectic.

Hope you get a chance to go home before long and that Paulette can follow you soon.  I think she’ll be able to adjust herself in a few months, but will probably miss France for quite a long time.  She will be well liked at Trumbull, anyhow, I know.

If you get a chance will you drop Marian a line?  She’d be interested in knowing about Al’s plans, at least as much as you know.

Give my love to “Chiche” when you see her and I’ll be seeing you both sometime soon.  Be careful.  Lad

This is the last communication from lad.  The next letter I have in sequence is a letter dated September 2nd from Grandpa addressed “Dear Benedicts and Bachelors”. During this time frame Lad came home to Trumbull.  There is no letter explaining how this happened so I’m going to let Lad  tell you in his own words, which I recorded on one of my trips to California.

LAD – Dan and I were both in France in 1945.  I had been corresponding with Dan and I knew he was going to be married on a particular day, I’ve forgotten what it was, I think it was in mid-summer.  I talked my Captain into a three-day pass but it was limited to Paris.  That was as far as I should go.  So I went to Paris and checked into the (Hospitality) Hotel.  I left my duffel bag there and put a little sack in my pocket with a toothbrush and that’s about it, I guess, maybe a comb, too.  I decided to try to get to Calais (where Dan was to be married).  I didn’t know how far it was, maybe 50 or 60 miles from Paris, north of Paris, up on the coast.  I got a ticket on a train and the train went about 5 or 6 mph  for about 10 or 15 minutes, then it stopped.  It stood there for a long, long time, then it went a little further and it stopped again.  I was noticing that cars kept going by so I got off the train and hitchhiked.  I beat the train by a day.  I didn’t have much trouble hitchhiking.  An English soldier came along on a motorbike and asked me where I wanted to go.  I told him Calais.  He said, “That’s not far.  I’ll take you up there.”  So that’s how I made the last two thirds of the trip to Calais.  I had no trouble finding the house; it was Chiche’s mother’s house, her mother and father’s house.  He was a pharmacist.  It was fairly late in the afternoon when I got there.  I stayed the night and the wedding was the next day. The third day, my pass was up but I didn’t hurry to get back.  I went back to Paris on the train, and this time, it went pretty well.  I grabbed all of my equipment out of the Hospitality Hotel and checked out.  I took the usual bus to go from Paris to Marseille, but by this time, I was one day over my pass.  When I got back to camp there was nothing there, just damaged grass and fields.  Everything was gone!  I finally found an officer who was walking around and asked him what had happened.  He said that everybody had shipped out, Saturday, I guess it was, or Sunday.  I told him my name and he said, “Oh, yeah.  They tried to get a hold of you but the Hotel said they couldn’t find you.”  So he told me where to go and what to do.  I went to the location he told me about and they knew all about me.  There was another fellow there, Bob Marks.  I was with the 3019th and he was with the 3020th.  He had been left behind to gather all the equipment.  I said, “That’s what I’m supposed to do.”  So Bob and I got together and found our equipment, we both belonged to the 149th Battalion.  We got all the equipment rounded up, got it to the dock and finally were able to get a ship that would take it to Okinawa.  I think it took us close to a week to get everything ready and get aboard.  We started out but when we were about 200 miles from the Panama Canal, the word on the PA system was that the US had dropped a bomb on Hiroshima.  We got the message in the afternoon, and the next morning the ship turned around, went back out to the Atlantic and up the coast to New York.  After I returned to New York I was stationed at Fort Dix.  I didn’t know how many months, a couple or three months.  They didn’t know what to do with me.  I went home every weekend and came back on Monday.  Finally they said to me, “We don’t know what to do with you so you might as well go home and get discharged.”  So that’s what finally happened.

For the rest of the week I will be posting Grandpa’s letters to the Benedicts and Batchelder’s.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Children (2) – The Gospel According to St. Dan – August 12, 1945

Daniel Beck Guion

The Gospel, according to St. Dan, Drancy, Aug. 5, 1945

To follow the somewhat erratic history of Dan, it is perhaps more feasible to follow through chronologically, beginning on or about the 9th of July, at which time he was planning to leave Drancy for Calais on the 12th.

July 10 – At breakfast, Lt. Shirk casually asked if I were ready to “parti” to Calais. “When?” “Today!” “But I thought it was to be the 12th.”  “We’ll leave today. Are your clothes packed?” Thus began a week of hectic preparations and worries. I had to send a telegram that A.M. to Calais, notifying them of the change of plans; then I had to get my laundry from the laundry; then I had to get my official papers from the C.O.’s office; that I had to get my cigarette and candy rations from the PX, then I had to pack; then I had to eat early lunch —-. We arrived at Calais about five PM — half an hour after the telegram. The Lieutenant and his chauffeur left for Ghent almost immediately, leaving orders that I was to wait there until a truck came to take me back to Paris. By a curious coincidence, Robert and Maurice (Chiche’s brothers) arrived that same evening from Algeria, relegating yours truly to a position of an all-but-forgotten kibitzer, while emotion rained after four years of frustration.

Paulette Van Laere (Chiche)

July 11 to 16. Feverish preparations, trying to get the necessary papers in order and church arrangements settled. I had to hitchhike to Lille and back to have a seal affixed to certificates. The same day Chiche went toBoulogne for other papers, only to learn that she needed my papers too. The church arrangements broke down very soon because the Catholic Church frowned on a “mixed” marriage. The day before the marriage we were still in doubt. Chiche and I went to Bologne that morning and got the final papers. In the meantime it developed that no marriage can take place in France until ten days after all the papers are in order and the banns have been published! No banns were in evidence at the City Hall. But the fault was not ours so everything smoothed out at the last minute – – even the church arrangements, because we decided to be married at the Protestant Temple after the civil ceremony at the City Hall. Late that night a dusty traveler (Lad) arrived from Marseille – unexpectedly — he having already written that it was impossible to come. It was a thoroughly pleasant surprise, after two and half years of separation.

Daniel Beck and Paulette (Van Laere) Guion

July 17. Ah, fateful day! 2 knots were tied – – both by men who took a personal interest in our marriage. All of Calais seems to have turned out for the occasion, for it was the first Franco-American wedding in that area. The first ceremony took place in the marriage hall at mairie. Mr. Hubert Desfachelles performed the ceremony as mayor, altho’ he was deputized for the affair as his own request. I think he was as nervous as we. It was “the first time” for all three of us! We drove to the Temple immediately afterward, where the Rev. Dubois officiated at a double ring ceremony. He said later that he had never seen the church so crowded for a marriage ceremony. There were many more who waited outside the door for a glimpse of “les espoux” as we came out. No rice was thrown, partly because there was no rice to be had, and partly because it is not the custom here to waste good food in such prodigal fashion. After the church ceremony the public was invited to the “vin donneur” which is the French equivalent of a reception, during which time wine and cookies are served to all who can get in. Fortunately, the Senechal home is across the street from the Temple (hence the name “rue du Temple” for the street on which they live)

Page 2 of the Gospel

so we were quickly embarked on this ceremony. Later, when the public had left we were served a sumptuous feast which represented hours of preparation and diligent searching in the black market for such luxuries as chicken and wine and a multitude of other dainties that no longer exist on the open market. That night there was dancing. “Chiche” and I heard that there was horseplay afoot, and we escaped upstairs shortly after midnight to our room. We locked both doors and kept vigil during an hour or so, during which time “they” tried to find a way to enter.

July 18 to August 1. An idyllic existence, during which time there was no worry or care save the possibility that the truck might come to take me back to Paris. For two full weeks I lived like a civilian on vacation, altho officially, I was in Calais on “Temporary Duty”. Furloughs are not authorized by the American Army to visit Calais, as it is part of the British sector – – but in order to permit the marriage, the 1st Sgt. arranged to send me on T.D. I suspect I am the only American on record whose sole “duty” during three weeks was to get married and enjoy a honeymoon! The truck came one afternoon about 3 P.M. while I was playing ping-pong with “Bob”, my new brother-in-law. Departure was mercifully swift. We had to leave immediately for Ghent where we spent two days.

Now, back in Drancy, I await the day (perhaps tomorrow) when Chiche will come to spend several days with me. The Army has not announced anything new about future plans. We are waiting to be “alerted” from day to day, but no new indications are manifest that such a move is near.

Lad arrived back in Marseille just in time to miss the boat! He is with the rear detachment and has left already for the Pacific, I presume. He doesn’t know just what route he will take, but usually the troops pass through CZ (Panama) and stop off a while in Hawaii. Love. DAN

Tomorrow I’ll post Lad’s account of the festivities.  

Judy Guion